Senators Should Stand Up Against Union Ambush Election Rule

Apr 24, 2012

The Senate has a chance to tell the NLRB that it’s favoritism toward labor unions has to stop. Today, Senators will vote on a resolution of disapproval—under the Congressional Review Act--that would repeal revisions the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) made late last year to union election procedures. This includes the “ambush election rule” that would “limit pre-election legal challenges and give more power to NLRB hearing officials to speed up the election process.”

Yesterday in the Washington Times, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) laid out some of the problems with these rules:

These rushed elections deny workers sufficient time to educate themselves about the effects of unionization and thus deny them the ability to make a fully informed decision. The new rules could subject hundreds of thousands of American workers to harassment and intimidation tactics administered by aggressive union organizers. These rules also give union organizers advantages and will allow them to target businesses they haven’t traditionally targeted, such as small businesses. These small-business owners will face additional costs and burdens. This is a lose-lose situation for American job creators and American jobs.

In a Key Vote Letter to Senators, Bruce Josten, U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President for Government Affairs, wrote:

These regulations should be repealed for several reasons. First, they fail to recognize that under long-standing rules, the vast majority of cases were processed efficiently. In fiscal year 2010, the average time for elections was just 38 days, with more than 95 percent of all elections occurring within 56 days. However, rather than look at targeted solutions for the small percentage of cases that take too long, the Board made sweeping changes that will apply to all elections.

While the substantive regulations adopted by the NLRB are detailed and complex, the end result is that election time will likely decrease significantly at the expense of important due process and free speech rights. Employees deserve a fair campaign period to hear from all sides and employers deserve an opportunity to have critical election-related questions settled before an election occurs. Organized labor has long sought to radically reduce or even eliminate this campaign period. This was precisely the goal of the “card check” provisions of the deceptively named “Employee Free Choice Act” (EFCA). Congress was right to reject EFCA and it should likewise reject the NLRB’s new union representation election regulations.

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